Box Office: ‘Halloween Kills’ Opens to Killer $50.4M Despite Dual Peacock Launch

Box Office: ‘Halloween Kills’ Opens to Killer $50.4M Despite Dual Peacock Launch

BY  PAMELA MCCLINTOCK | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren for CNT #Entertainment

The slasher film had no trouble defeating James Bond pic ‘No Time to Die’ while Ridley Scott’s historical epic ‘The Last Duel’ bombed in its debut with $4.8 million domestically.

David Gordon Green’s Halloween Kills is doing killer business at the domestic box office, where it scared up the biggest horror opening of the pandemic era. It also boasts the top start for a  movie launching simultaneously in theaters and on a streaming service at no extra cost.

Green’s R-rated slasher pic earned $50.4 million from 3,705 theaters in North America. Halloween Kills also launched Friday on Universal’s sister streaming service, Peacock.

Day-and-date releases, a controversial practice, have become commonplace during the pandemic as media conglomerates race to grow their streaming services and use feature movies as bait. Previously, Godzilla vs. Kong boasted the biggest domestic box office opening for a pandemic-era dual release ($31.6 million).

The performance will no doubt please advocates of drastically shortening or collapsing the exclusive theatrical window. Such advocates include NBCUniversal chief Jeff Shell, who oversees Universal and Peacock.

Halloween Kills, made by Universal, Miramax and Blumhouse, is a follow-up to Green’s smash 2018 Halloween reboot, which opened to a record-breaking $76.2 million on its way to earning north of $250 million worldwide. The new generation of films see Jamie Lee Curtis and Nick Castle reprise their signature roles as Laurie Strode and the menacing monster, Michael Myers.

Halloween Kills was a destination event for younger consumers, who are thus far fueling the box office recovery. Among ticket buyers, 73 percent of the audience were 35 and under, including 44 percent under 24. The audience was also ethnically diverse;  Caucasians made up 38 percent, followed by Latinos (33 percent), Blacks (16 percent) and Asians/Other (13 percent), according to PostTrak surveys.

The pic posted the best start for a horror film since the COVID-19 crisis commenced, besting A Quiet Place Part II ($47.5 million). Throughout the pandemic, superhero and horror offerings have done the best.

Green’s movie had no trouble winning the weekend ahead of James Bond installment No Time to Die, which tumbled a not-so-great 56 percent to $24.3 million in its second outing for a 10-day domestic total of $99.5 million.

No Time to Die needs older adults to prosper, a demo that’s fallen out of the habit of going to the movies due to COVID. While the MGM and EON movie has succeeded in convincing many to return to the cinemas for the first time in more than 18 months, winning over older adults is a slow process.

That’s part of the reason why Ridley Scott’s A-list The Last Duel bombed in its debut with $4.8 million domestically. Set in 14th century France, the movie stars Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer and Ben Affleck.

The Last Duel, opening in fifth place, needed older adults even more than Bond; 80 percent of the audience was 25 and older,  including a hefty 50 percent over 35. Ethnically, the audience mix was 63 percent Caucasian, 17 percent Latino, Latino, 11 percent Asian/Other and 9 percent Black.

Nor does it help that historical epics are a challenging genre even in normal times. And while critics embraced The Last Duel, the movie received a B+ from audiences (the strength of reviews would have indicated some variation of an A). Disney inherited the project when absorbing 20th Century Fox.

The Last Duel started off its foreign run with $4.2 million from 37 markets for a global launch of just $9 million.

Both that film and No Time to Die are playing exclusively in theaters.

8:15 a.m., Oct. 17 Updated with Sunday estimates.

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By Troy Warren

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